All on deck in Kawakawa

The Northland Age - - Front Page -

The last cou­ple of years haven’t been the eas­i­est for polic­ing in Kawakawa. The sta­tion lost its sergeant, a cou­ple of con­sta­bles and pub­lic counter staff in 2016 af­ter a ros­ter change and years of frozen po­lice bud­gets, but it’s as very dif­fer­ent pic­ture now.

For the first time in at least two years the sta­tion has a full com­ple­ment of staff. The cur­rent gov­ern­ment’s fund­ing boost, a ma­jor re­cruit­ing drive and the new 24-hour ros­ter for the Mid North has seen the re­turn of a sergeant and seven front­line con­sta­bles, along with a se­nior sergeant, a youth of­fi­cer and a com­mu­nity con­sta­ble.

The men and women in blue cel­e­brated the sta­tion’s re­stored for­tunes with an open day on Fri­day, giv­ing the com­mu­nity a chance to look over the sta­tion and meet the staff, with a po­lice dog demon­stra­tion free siz­zled sausages and even home-made bis­cuits as added in­duce­ments.

Act­ing Sergeant Mark Bar­ratt said the 100-odd peo­ple who ac­cepted the in­vi­ta­tion were “stoked” to see a full team again: “This is what the com­mu­nity has been ask­ing for,” he said, adding that the 27/7 ros­ter al­lowed faster re­sponse times, and had al­ready led to a num­ber of bur­glary ar­rests.

Kawakawa Busi­ness As­so­ci­a­tion chair­man Mal­colm Fran­cis said the com­mu­nity had been no­tice­ably short of po­lice since staff were con­cen­trated in Kerik­eri, and he was tak­ing a wait and see ap­proach to prom­ises of new staffing lev­els.

“The proof will be in the pud­ding . . . but if it goes any­thing like they say it will, it’s go­ing to be awe­some,” he said.

Un­der the 24-hour ros­ter, in­tro­duced in July, Kawakawa, Kaikohe and Kerik­eri take turns at pro­vid­ing night-time cover for the Mid North. Kaitaia made the change to 24/7 yes­ter­day.

It has yet to be de­cided whether the pub­lic counter will be manned in Kawakawa; in the mean­time the sta­tion, on Al­bert St, will be open be­tween 7am and 4pm when of­fi­cers are present. Oth­er­wise vis­i­tors will be asked to use an in­ter­com by the door to con­tact the po­lice com­mu­ni­ca­tions cen­tre.


Kawakawa’s full com­ple­ment of front­line po­lice — Con­sta­bles Ju­lian Trinder (left), Damian Bath, Alexis Chap­man, Jor­dan Fraser, Sergeant Mark Bar­ratt, Mau­rice Cooper, War­ren Dunn and Sergeant Phil Le Comte, with Whanga¯ rei’s El­yse Lewis and po­lice dog Mist in front.

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